Hide and seek

Bearded Seal
Bearded Seal

The Andøyane in Liefdefjord, Spitsbergen are always a good place for a zodiac-cruise. Andøyane is Norwegian for Duck Islands, an apt name as many Long-tailed and Eider Ducks breed on the islands. That is, if they haven’t been predated by Polar Bears that also often visit the island. Apart from this, there are often waders like Turnstone and Red Phalarope around the islands. This time I heard one of my colleagues had seen a nice Bearded Seal near his zodiac. Normally these animals are quite shy and only come to a zodiac for a short time. So I decided not to go towards that place. However, when we came near 15 minutes later and he was still playing with the same animal, we had a look. Just at that point, the seal appeared to have enough. We waited for a while and just when we had decided to turn around, the seal reappeared. Really close to the zodiac, so we all could have a nice look. Then it disappeared again. This playing hide and seek, which was easily won by the seal as he could go under water, continued for some time. At some time the seal was even swimming in between our two zodiacs, even though they were only a few meters apart.

In the end we had to leave and left the seal where he belongs. We had a great cruise, in beautiful weather!

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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